Ship’s History

USS Santa Barbara (AE-28) was an Kilauea-class ammunition ship in the United States Navy.

Santa Barbara was laid down on December 20, 1966 at the Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard in Sparrows Point, Maryland; launched on January 23, 1968; sponsored by Mrs. Graeme C. Bannerman, the wife of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Logistics; and commissioned on  July 11, 1970, with Captain Charles A. Whitmore in command.

USS Santa Barbara is the third U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name. The first was a single screw freighter built for civilian use in 1916, and commissioned on April 15, 1918. This ship served transporting troops and general cargo to and from Europe during World War I. Returning to civilian ownership in 1919, this ship was renamed “American” and sunk by a German submarine off the East Coast of British Honduras on June 11, 1942. The second ship, Santa Barbara, was a steam launch which served at the Washington Navy Yard and Indian Head, Maryland, also during World War I.

Following fitting out at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Santa Barbara arrived at her selected home port, Naval Station Davisville, Rhode Island, on September 18, 1970. On October 6, the ammunition ship conducted her first underway replenishment. Her home port was moved to Naval Weapons Station Charleston, located in Goose Creek, South Carolina, a few miles north of Charleston, one of America’s oldest and most historic cities.

Santa Barbara served in two wars (Vietnam & Persian Gulf) and was involved in 1989 Libyan Gulf of Sidra incident. Primarily an East Coast AE, she made several deployments to Arctic Sea, Caribbean, Guantanamo Bay, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, North Atlantic, Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Western Pacific. October 1989, her crew assisted with the disaster relief effort during the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo.

Decommissioned on September 30, 1998, Santa Barbara was transferred to the Military Sealift Command (MSC), Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force the same day and her hull number was changed to T-AE-28. She remained in service with MSC until she was finally retired on August 5, 2005. She was scrapped in Brownsville, Texas on November 9, 2006.